The Names Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Whom does James tell he is resigning in Chapter 13?

2. What is the first thing Singh asks Owen in Chapter 12?

3. In Chapter 8, what is Volterra unsure of regarding his possible documentary?

4. What does Del tell James about Volterra's intention regarding his film in Chapter 10?

5. What monument figures prominently in both the beginning and the end of the novel?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

In The Names, Don DeLillo sets up two mysteries that seem at one point to be connected. Write an essay discussing the reality behind both mysteries and how DeLillo juxtaposes them. Which two entities are aware of James Axton, and which one specifically attempts to harm him? What inclinations does he have that either of these entities is on to him? Which entity does Eliades belong to? How the reality behind either entity revealed in the narrative?

Essay Topic 2

A central theme of Don DeLillo's The Names is the mystical and broad meaning of language. In this novel, language and words not only contain meaning but also a sort of divine truth. Write an essay in three parts about the way DeLillo deals with truth in the novel:

Part 1) Owen Brademas is the major character with the most passionate connection to language in the novel. Discuss what influences in his life, beginning with his childhood, have contributed to this connection. What does he want to do with his life, and how do words become part of this? What is the purpose of ancient words, in his viewpoint?

Part 2) Midway through the novel, the mysterious Vosdanik explains the significance of words to the mysterious cult. Describe the role of language to the lonely men of the desert. Why are they obsessed with them? Historically, what has been the significance of words to spiritual acolytes?

Part 3) What is the methodology of the language cult? Why do they commit their murders? What divine extreme are they reaching for? Citing the words of Vosdanik, Andahl, and Singh, discuss the meaning of the cult in the world of the novel. Are they the touchstone of love of language in The Names?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the marriage and separation of James and Kathryn Axton. How did their marriage affect each others individual life and goals? What state is the marriage in when the novel begins, and how did it reach this point? Discuss how Kathryn and James' personalities and lifestyles change after the separation. What idiosyncrasies are revealed as a result? What finally breaks the marriage apart for good, and how does the veneer of cordiality disappear as a result?

(see the answer keys)

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